2022-23 Fantasy Hockey Week 17 Unsustainable Players

by Justin Cheng
2022-23 Fantasy Hockey Week 17 Unsustainable Players

Well, you made it to the All-Star break. If you are starting to feel a bit burned out, that is totally understandable. You can use these next two weeks to reset and regroup as you prepare for the final push leading into the playoffs. Sit back and buckle up as we dive into the 2022-23 Fantasy Hockey Week 17 Unsustainable Players.

If you are looking for further add/drop guidance, make sure to check out Kyle's stock watch or Michael's Weekly Planner from earlier this week.

And as always, if you have any players that you want me to cover in future weeks, be sure to leave a comment down below or reach out to me via Twitter - @jchengWPG.

Without further ado, let's jump into the 2022-23 Fantasy Hockey Week 17 Unsustainable Players!

2022-23 Fantasy Hockey Week 17 Unsustainable Players

Unsustainably High

William Nylander, LW/RW, Toronto Maple Leafs (98% rostered)

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Is it safe to say that William Nylander has one of the best bargain contracts in the NHL right now?

The Leafs' winger has one more season after this one on his current contract and will be in line for a massive pay bump if Toronto wishes to extend him this off-season. Nylander has arguably been the Leafs' best forward, on pace for 95 points. Over the past two weeks, he has scored six goals and added six assists through seven games.

While I do think that he is an elite player and definitely one that the Leafs should do everything to retain, his current stretch is unsustainable and should not be used to determine his fair value in any extension.

Nylander has been shooting at 23.1%, and he has an IPP of 85.7%. His oiSH% is just as high, sitting at 14.8%. All of these figures are about 30% too high when you compare them to Nylander's body of work last season and over the past three.

Nylander put up a shooting percentage of 13.3% last season and has averaged 14.0% over his past three. His IPP finished at 66.1% and 69.4% last season and over the past three seasons, respectively. His oiSH% should revert close to the 11.7% that he averaged last year (while playing alongside 60-goal scorer Auston Matthews!).

If you take his current scoring pace and slash it by a third, that would make Nylander a point-per-game player. This is about what I would expect from the Swede going forward. Depending on the other Fantasy GMs, you may be able to get a king's ransom if you were to deal Nylander before the Fantasy trade deadline.

Pavel Zacha, C/LW/RW, Boston Bruins (29% rostered)

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The Boston Bruins have been the cream of the crop this season. Part of this success can be attributed to the fact that they have managed to find depth scoring up and down their lineup. The most recent guy to be putting up the points on the scoresheet has been Pavel Zacha.

Zacha, who ended up in Boston this offseason as a result of a sign-and-trade with the New Jersey Devils has eight points in his last eight games. He has four goals on just 13 shots over that span, resulting in a 30.8% shooting percentage.

There are many alarming details underlying Zacha's recent hot streak that suggest to me that this production will not continue past the break.

For starters, Zacha has an individual points percentage (IPP) of 88.9% and an on-ice shooting percentage (oiSH%) of 15.8%. This, combined with his absurdly high shooting percentage, screams negative regression. Zacha finished with an IPP of 60.0% and an oiSH% of 8.9% last year. His shooting percentage was not much higher at just 10.1%. When these return to numbers more consistent with the rest of his career, his scoring will nosedive.

Additionally, Zacha is not getting the best deployment. While currently he is skating on the second line with David Krejci and David Pastrnak, he will almost certainly return to the third line when Jake Debrusk gets healthy. Debrusk has missed the past four weeks with an injury and is expected to return after the break.

Unfortunately for Fantasy GMs, a player that is getting just 15:40 per night on a third line is not much more than a good streaming option on days that the Bruins have favorable matchups.

Unsustainably Low

Jack Eichel, C, Vegas Golden Knights (97% rostered)

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Jack Eichel's tenure in Vegas has not been a smooth ride. And when you are being paid $10 million, this is not good enough.

After another extended absence due to injury (remember, he missed a big chunk of his first season due to his neck injury), he has not been dynamic. Eichel has just one assist in his past seven games. He has added 20 shots, five hits, and six blocks over that span, so he has not been a complete dud. But that is still not good enough.

I would not expect this to continue for the Golden Knights' number-one center.

Over the past week, Eichel has been averaging four shots per game. This is right in line with his shot volume from last season when he was on pace for 35 goals. As a result of those shots, Eichel has generated 1.7 expected goals - and he has capitalized on none of them.

Eichel should start to capitalize on some of these changes soon. He has never finished a season with a negative goals-scored-above-expected (GSAx), and I don't expect that to start now.

Also, no one is in a better position to succeed than Eichel. He is the team's go-to guy with Mark Stone out with another back injury. He is playing alongside Jonathan Marchessault ad Reilly Smith at five-on-five. And he is also the trigger-man on the first powerplay unit, averaging just under three minutes of powerplay time per game.

Nick Suzuki, C, Montreal Canadiens (56% rostered)

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When Montreal signed Nick Suzuki to a big-ticket extension prior to last season, the reviews were mixed.

Some thought it was a great long-term deal that will be a steal for a number-one centerman. Those in the analytics community balked at the term and dollars of the contract, criticizing Canadiens' GM Marc Bergevin for getting too ambitious for a forward who had never broken 41 points.

This season - the first of Suzuki's new contract - has been a bit of a mixed bag. He started the season off strong on a scoring tear, only to have his production go dry in the New Year. Over the past two weeks, Suzuki has just one assist in seven games. This is not good enough for a guy being paid just under $8 million per year. He also has not been doing much on the peripheral front, with just three blocks and seven hits during that span.

However, I do believe Suzuki will turn it around.

For starters, Suzuki is still shooting the puck. He is on pace for 178 shots over the past two weeks. This is slightly higher than his three-year average and slightly lower than last season's pace. When he eventually starts converting on 11.29% of these shots (his shooting percentage from both last season, and average over the past three seasons!), Fantasy GMs who hold out for Suzuki will be rewarded. If Suzuki can find his form, he should be good for 9-10 more goals this season which would be a new career high.

Further, Suzuki's recent drop in production can be attributed to bad luck. In addition to a 0% shooting percentage personally, his oiSH% is sitting at a paltry 3.2%. While the Canadiens are not an offensive juggernaut, the topline on any team cannot stay at 3.2% for long. When this picks up, expect Suzuki to rack up the assists as the go-to man on the Habs' top line.

Sustainably High

John Tavares, C, Toronto Maple Leafs (96% rostered)

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It seems like just yesterday that John Tavares was an integral part of the Canada World Juniors teams that won back-to-back gold medals in 2008 and 2009.

Fast forward 15 years and Tavares is now a grizzled NHL veteran. Just this week the Maple Leafs honored the Toronto native for playing in his 1,000 NHL game.

Despite his age, Tavares has had an incredible season, racking up 51 points in 51 games. Over the past two weeks, he has maintained this point-per-game pace, scoring a goal and adding six assists through seven games.

When I dove into Tavares' underlying numbers, I expected to see many markers of unsustainability. However, what I found surprised me.

For starters, Tavares has significantly upped his shot volume this season. On the year, he is on pace for 300 shots which would be a new career high. Over the past two weeks, he has been shooting even more, averaging 5.5 shots per game. This has resulted in him generating 5.0 expected goals. This suggests to me that Tavares may actually have more to give on the goal-scoring front.

Additionally, his IPP is sitting at 70.0%, while his oiSH% is sitting at 10.4% over the past two weeks. While his IPP may be a bit high compared to the 65% he has averaged over the past three seasons, I would not be too alarmed. What negative regression can be expected with his IPP will likely be offset by positive regression in his oiSH%.

Now would be a good time to trade for the veteran centerman who will likely finish right around the point-per-game mark.

Sustainably Low

Shea Theodore, D, Vegas Golden Knights (90% rostered)

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Since the Golden Knights brought in Alex Pietrangelo a few seasons ago, Shea Theodore has been very inconsistent. When he is manning the top powerplay unit, he has found success on the points front. When Pietrangelo has been trusted to be the go-to offensive defenceman, Theodore's production has suffered.

This season, Theodore lost his spot as Top D-man by no fault of his own. He had been out since early December with a leg injury that caused him to miss 20 games. In his absence, Pietrangelo thrived with the added responsibility.

Since returning from injury, Theodore has yet to find the scoresheet in two games. He has just one hit and two blocks during that stretch and is a -2.

I am not optimistic that Theodore will be able to regain the 55+ point pace that he was on earlier this season.

He is playing on the team's second powerplay unit. He has also found a home on the team's second pairing while averaging just 22 minutes per night. This is slightly lower than the 23:08 he averaged last season.

And if that was not enough, it appears as though head coach Bruce Cassidy is using Theodore in a primarily defensive role. Theodore has started just 42.1% of his shifts in the offensive zone since his return. This is the first time since joining Vegas that he is below 50%.

If you currently own Shea Theodore, he would be a good piece to move at the trade deadline to bolster your lineup heading into playoffs.

Closing

And with that, we wrap up our coverage of the 2022-23 Fantasy Hockey Week 17 Unsustainable Players.

Every Tuesday throughout this season we will be looking at the hottest and coldest players in the league. If you have any players that you want me to cover, be sure to leave a comment down below or reach out to me via Twitter @jchengWPG.

Advanced stats and analytics are taken from Natural Stat Trick.


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